Have you ever had a dream? A dream that you thought may barely come true? I had such a dream too, 2 years back, the dream of going for the Enactus World Cup and yes, 2016 was my year! After clinching top position in the Enactus National Expositions, my team and I knew that there was more to come. Struggle after struggle, fights emerged, relationships were broken and ties were loosened up and at the end of the journey, only 8 students finally took the flight to Toronto, Canada for the Enactus World Cup 2016.
I will not go to the other details; it may take an eternity to describe how amazing everything was! From the city itself, the people, the culture, the modes of transport, it would take Kenya more than just a mere vision 2030 to reach where the first world countries are! I guess by the time we adopt street cars and electrical trains, the people up there might be flying from one point to another, lol, just a conjecture!
In a group of 10 i.e. 8 students, the dean of students, Moi University- Dr. Ayieko and the DVC-Finance/ Faculty Advisor- Prof-Tarus, we went for a reconnaissance a day prior to the events scheduled, 27th September so that we could understand more about which trains to take, the place itself and basically just to familiarize with everything. The Metro Toronto Convention Center where all the activities were to take place is located in what is referred to as downtown Toronto along the Front Street West and just a walk away from the CN tower which is a 553.3 m high concrete communications and observations tower.
28th September, the day that we had a taste of different cultural experiences and the day that no student was even thinking about presentation; it was all about fun and networking. Event check in started at 12:00 pm Canadian time, all the attendees checked in at the registration place to pick up the event credentials required for entry to all the sessions and activities.
At 2:00 pm, there was an interactive session for the Enactus faculty advisors where in our case, Prof. Tarus was invited to collaborate, learn and also share best practices. The real excitement begun at around 3:00 pm where students started setting up their desks for the cultural exhibitions. In my team, Kelvin was the head of the cultural exhibitions and was assisted by Stephen. At that same time, Daniel and I had gone for the first social media ambassador meeting where we were briefed on what was our role and where we were supposed to sit throughout the event.
At 4:00 pm, everything was all set and it was that time of pride, the pride of being an ambassador for your country. The world cultural experience allowed all of us to experience the diverse cultures present in the world. Since Kenya is a home to many cultures, we chose to represent the Swahili culture where the men wore vikois and chessa shirts and had a tarboush on their heads; the ladies on the other hand, had pareos, visitus and head gears. We received gifts from the various booths, we danced, we owned the world, it was all ours!
6:30 pm, the opening ceremony begun. All the attendees were invited to join in the excitement of the official opening of the Enactus World cup 2016 that offered a unique view of Canada, there was then a parade of nations featuring each of the 36 Enactus Countries and each nation danced into their own country tunes, ours was Coming Home by Nameless. After raising our flags up high, the presidents went forward for the live drawing of the time-slots for the coming day’s competition. Kenya was placed at league 7, together with Tunisia, Azerbaijan and Zimbabwe.
Immediately after the opening ceremony, there was a small session on ‘How to perfect your speaking voice’ by Roger Love who is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on voice. This session was first attended by leagues 5-8 as leagues 1-4 were doing their opening round Technology Check. After their Tech-Check, Dominic, our IT executive and Jadline, the team President headed for the Tech Check and we then followed suit. It was just Day 1 and we were as tired as the wings of the birds. On our way back to Deluxe inn, where we resided, we were all contemplating on day 2. Were we going to make it through the Opening rounds?
Having a determined president means that sleep will automatically be less! We woke up at 3:00 am and started our rehearsals and preparations, since our league was going to participate in the afternoon, we did not go very early to the Convention Centre. As from 9:00am, there were innovation stations that were set by different companies which were also the event sponsors where students could learn about the culture of these companies and also experience the innovative approaches adopted so as to solve real global problems through entrepreneurial action. Concurrently, UN sustainable development goals ideation session was ongoing where in our case, Stephen represented us.
Winnie, Enactus Kenya deputy director gave us cards to attend the various top to future forums which were sessions led by World Cup Country Sponsors and they were revolving around selected SDGs. I remember I was at first reluctant to attend because the sessions were to start at 11:00am to 12:15 pm and knowing that we will be presenting just in the afternoon sent not only butterflies but an entire zoo in my tummy, it was hilarious! But attending that session was one the most amazing decisions I took. I literally learnt a lot, like it was a whole package of interaction and I don’t know how I should explain that; maybe Daniel, my friend who was with me in the same room could explain it more. We were tackling SDG 4: quality education, our instructors were from Capital One- an American Bank specializing in credit cards, auto loans, banking and savings products. We were taught on how to tackle complex problems through development of models and design approach.
After the networking luncheon, the opening round of competition for league 5-8 begun. After Tunisia and Azerbaijan presented, we relaxed a bit trying to compose ourselves as we psyched up for our presentation. Dressed in business professional attires, a combination of royal blue for the ladies and black suits for the gents, we presented our 3 projects (AfyaKid, FlouRid and ChickFix) which were evaluated by business executives who served as judges.
After all the teams had presented, there was another parade, this time the parade was specific to the National Champions teams i.e. the individual universities that made a mark in their countries. Following the parade, the session proceeded with a special forum where a panel of selected Enactus students serving as SDG ambassadors participated in a moderated discussion about how the people all over the world are taking action so as to address the Sustainable Development Goals and how far it would take to have them all accomplished.
The opening round ceremony followed where the 16 best teams were announced, 2 from each league which were to proceed for the Semi-Finals in the morning on the 30th of September. In our league, Zimbabwe and Kenya went through. We were then presented with an award of making it to the Semi-Final rounds and it was a moment of pride. Personally, I reflected on all the hard work we had done for our people, our communities. We had touched the lives of many and at that point, we were winners just by being there…and Enactus had acknowledged that by giving all the participating students, bronze medals.
It was getting tougher by the day. Again, live drawing of time-slots for the last day’s competition. This time we were in league 1 with: United States, China and Germany, GIANTS! Remember, all this sessions were available for live viewing online.
We had the judges’ evaluation sheets which actually helped us to know what mistakes we had in our presentations and how we could perfect our D-Day’s presentation. We were at MTCC very early in the morning, one because we had a meeting with the Ford, CEO at 8:00 am with regard to how far we have gone with our Ease-Up project which we had emerged the winners in 2014 , the Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3).
Our Dean led us in prayers and we then went to present our projects. After the presentation, we headed to the various innovation stations where we networked, asked questions and even earned gifts. The companies present were: Bic, Cocacola, Unilever, KPMG, Scotia Bank, Walmart, and Capital One among others. As most students were busy exploring the stations, Top to Top forum was concurrently ongoing; which provided an opportunity for executives to engage, discuss and collaborate.
At 2:00 pm, we all united in hall F&G where the 4 best teams in each league were announced i.e. Germany, Nigeria, India and Canada. The 4 teams presented their projects to a panel of global judges who evaluated the effectiveness of their efforts to improve livelihoods. Germany had a project on fish farming in Tanzania, Nigeria had an extremely powerful project on how they made chairs, desks and shoes from locally available materials for the refugee children so that they may go to school (If I were a judge, I would have selected Nigeria as the World Cup Champions, 2016), India had a project on computer literacy and Canada’s project was based on providing fresh deliveries of tomatoes and strawberries.
After the presentations, there was recognition of outstanding accomplishments of individuals who have been friends of Enactus and endless supporters; there was also presentation of the Global Champion award, Semi-Final and Final Rounds Awards, a talk and a brief history Of Alvin Rohrs who is the Enactus founder and CEO who announced his retire and even told us how Enactus meant to him and yes, the introduction of the new Enactus Worldwide president, Rachel who will be joining us in solving more problems in the world.
The World Cup Championship Trophy was given to Enactus Canada and the event ended with the Enactus World Party with a Purpose that was presented by Unilever and it ended at 2:00 am. This year, I have learnt that there is more to life than just winning and losing; that satisfaction that you derive from making somebody’s life better, that is what I need to breathe each single day!
Join us in helping the world, join us making this world a better place to live in…Why would you fill your stomach endlessly and there is your neighbor next door who just wishes for that single bread that you take for granted! In Enactus, we empower, we change, we convert, we collaborate, we use the power of entrepreneurial action to bring change, to develop, to transform! We are Enactus, and this world is ours! Don’t forget to check out: enactus.org for more information about what we do…